Vascular dementia is a general term that we used to describe a condition that is associated with problems with memory, planning, reasoning and other brain activities. This disease occurs due to the damage to the brain, in which the blood flow to the brain has been impaired. Vascular dementia mostly occurs when the vessels that take blood to the brain are blocked. Stroke is one of the causes of vascular dementia. There are some factors that increase the risk of the developing this medical condition. Some of these factors include diseases such as diabetes mellitus, increased blood pressure, or hypertension, elevated blood cholesterol level, smoking and so on. Reducing these factors would significantly decrease the risk of developing vascular dementia. The treatment plan for this disease is eliminating the underlying cause of the disease. This can be done by simply eliminating the factors that must have led to the disease. In addition, exosomes and stem cells are unique cells that are capable of differentiating into other types of cells. Stem cells are extracted from the bone marrow of the patient, processed and then passed into the body intravenously. They also can be used in the treatment of this disease.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Vascular Dementia?
The signs and symptoms of vascular dementia vary in people. They depend on what part of the brain is affected. The signs and symptoms of this disease might also present like other types of dementia. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of vascular dementia;
- Confusion: Patients affected by this disease often appear confused. Patients do not present with this symptom until the later part of the disease.
- Patients might also have difficulty in focusing, and paying attention for a long time.
- Inability to carry out executive functions and properly organize your thoughts.
- They also find it difficult making a decision on what they want to do next.
- They have problems with their memory.
- Depression: This is a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness.
- Unstable gait.
- Restlessness: They are usually restless in their decisions and physically. This is one of the earliest symptoms to be noticed in an individual affected by vascular dementia.
- Poor communicative skills: People affected by this disease find it difficult expressing their thoughts and how they feel. Their communicative skills worsen over time.
What Are the Causes Of Vascular Dementia?
Vascular dementia occurs as a result of injuries or trauma to the blood vessels in the brain. Injuries or trauma to the brain impedes the flow of blood to the brain, reducing the oxygen, and nutrition needed for the brain to function. Below are some of the common conditions that could lead to the development of vascular dementia;
- Stroke obstructing a brain artery: Stroke that blocks the brain artery would lead to various kinds of symptoms and conditions, one of which could be vascular dementia. However, some types of stroke do not cause any noticeable symptom. Even at that, these silent type of stroke still increases the risk of developing vascular dementia. The more stroke an individual has, the more the chances of developing vascular dementia.
- Obstructed brain blood vessels: There are some conditions that obstruct the flow of blood in the vessels. These conditions include the wear and tear, especially associated with ageing, hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes and so on.
- Amyloidopathy: Amyloids are abnormally folded proteins in the brain. The accumulation of the amyloid proteins might lead to the formation of plaques in the walls of the vessels. This might eventually affect the integrity of the vessel walls.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Vascular Dementia?
These are factors that increase the risk of developing vascular dementia. The factors of this disease are the same as the ones that lead to heart diseases and stroke. Below are some of those factors:
- Age: The risk of developing vascular dementia increases with age. This disease occurs more in people that are over the age of 65. The risk is significantly high in people above the age of 90.
- Cardiovascular diseases: People with a history of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, have a high risk of developing vascular dementia. The brain damage that occurs due to stroke also significantly increases the risk of developing the disease.
- Hypercholesterolemia: This is a condition in which an individual has an abnormally high amount of blood “bad cholesterol”. Low-density lipoproteins are also referred to as bad cholesterols. This can lead to the deposition and accumulation of fat in the vessels. They might eventually narrow the vessels, reducing the flow of blood to the brain, which could subsequently lead to vascular dementia.
- Past medical history: Individuals with a past medical record of having heart-related diseases such as stroke, heart attack and so on have a high risk of developing vascular dementia. The damage or injury that occurs as a result of stroke significantly predisposes people to the development of vascular dementia.
- Smoking: Cigarette contains a lot of harmful components. Smoking has a negative and destructive effect on the blood vessels. This increases the risk of developing vascular dementia.
- Excess weight: People with a body mass index that is overweight or in the range of obesity, have a high risk of developing vascular dementia
- Hypertension: High blood pressure puts excess stress on the blood vessels in the body. This includes the brain, increasing the risk of developing vascular dementia.
How Is Vascular Dementia Diagnosed?
There is a specific test to confirm the diagnosis of vascular dementia. However, your physician would make a diagnosis based on the complaints of the patient, and also the signs and symptoms. In addition, the past medical history of the patient is often checked to get a full picture of what’s happening.
Stem cell therapy and Vascular Dementia
Stem cells are unique cells that are capable of differentiating into other types of cells. Stem cells are extracted from the bone marrow of the patient, processed and then passed into the body intravenously. Stem cells have immunomodulatory functions. In addition to this, they’re also capable of repairing and replacing dead cells. Mesenchymal cells are capable of locating damaged parts of the body, where they’d carry out repair functions
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Sugaya, K. (2008). S4-04-03: Stem cell therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 4(4), p.T182.Get More Stem Cell Information at iSTEMCELL